FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
Alan Peoples, PLC, by: Mark Alan Peoples, for appellant.
Anderson, Murphy & Hopkins, L.L.P. by: Randy P. Murphy,
J. GLADWIN, JUDGE
Davis appeals the Arkansas Workers' Compensation
Commission's (Commission's) October 23, 2017 opinion
that reversed the administrative law judge's (ALJ's)
decision and found that Davis did not prove she had sustained
compensable injuries other than those to her right arm and
left knee. On appeal, Davis argues that the Commission erred
in finding that (1) she had reached the end of her healing
period for her left knee, and (2) she did not sustain
injuries to her low back and both thumbs. We affirm.
who worked for Remington Arms Company (Remington), slipped
and fell on her hands and knees when she was at work on April
22, 2016. Remington paid medical benefits for treatment of
Davis's compensable injuries to her right arm and left
knee. When Davis later claimed injuries to her thumbs and
lumbar spine from the fall, Remington controverted those
hearing to determine the compensability of the alleged thumb
and back injuries, the end date of Davis's healing
period, and entitlement to temporary total-disability
benefits (TTD) and additional medical treatment, Davis
testified that she had worked for Remington for twenty-two
years, most recently as a primer charger, dealing with
explosives. She said that on April 22, 2016, she met in the
front of the department with other workers to do hand
exercises for carpal-tunnel and tendinitis prevention. After
she finished those exercises, she walked to the trash can.
That is when I slipped and fell on something greasy and oily
on the floor. When I proceeded to fall, I put my hands out to
try to catch myself, but I ended up landing on my hands and
on my knees and then going backward. I was on concrete. It
was just a flat surface. I hurt my hands and my knees when I
fell. I did not know that my back was hurt until the next
morning when I woke up because I could not move.
said that the accident occurred on a Friday, and she did not
work the remainder of the day. She was taken to Concentra in
North Little Rock where Dr. Moore performed x-rays. She was
sent back to work but stayed only an hour after having
informed her supervisor that she was hurting and needed to go
home. Because there was no nurse on site on Saturday, she
reported to the nurse on Monday morning that she woke on
Saturday with back pain and could not get out of bed. The
nurse told her to go back to Concentra. Despite Davis's
testimony that she went to Concentra and was told that an
appointment had not been arranged and she could not be seen,
Concentra's records from that day indicate that Davis
reported new back pain during her examination.
said that she went on Tuesday to her primary-care physician
(PCP), Dr. Norman Pledger, who prescribed physical therapy.
She said that her hands and knees were swollen and bruised
and that she was also experiencing back pain at that time.
She denied experiencing any problems with her back before
April 22, 2016.
said that after she completed physical therapy, she went back
to her PCP, and he sent her to Ortho Arkansas for treatment
of her back and knee. That doctor sent her for more physical
therapy. She said that after several weeks the therapy had
not helped, so an MRI was ordered.
testified that she had not worked since the April 22 fall
because she was unable to stand longer than ten minutes and
had constant pain in her back and knees. She also said that
her thumb "situation" had not resolved. Davis had
surgery on one thumb in October but had not had any surgery
on her knees because she needed to lose weight first. She
said she had been paying for the medical treatment and still
owed for some of it. She said that she had applied for Social
Security disability but that the claim was still pending and
that she had not tried to go back to work. She said that she
needed additional medical treatment for her knee, back, and
said that after Dr. Moore had released her back to work, she
talked to the Remington nurse about her back pain. She said
that the nurse informed her that because she did not report
an injury to her back when the accident first happened, it
would not be included in the accident report and would not be
part of her workers'-compensation claim. She was told
that because Dr. Moore had released her back to work the day
of the accident, Remington would not be liable for any more
payments or doctors' appointments. She said that she then
sought treatment on her own.
said that Dr. Blankenship had been the primary doctor for her
back. She said that her low back had not improved since the
accident. She said that Dr. Blankenship had ordered the MRI
and talked to her about the degenerative changes or arthritis
that it revealed. Dr. Blankenship also looked at her left
knee, and he ordered an MRI for it as well. She said that he
did not talk to her about arthritis, that he counseled her on
weight loss, and he told her she needed to lose weight before
surgery on her knee could be done. She also said Dr.
Blankenship referred her to Dr. Sims, who told her she needed
a total-knee replacement, that she needed to lose weight
before it was done, and that she had severe knee arthritis
along with a weight issue.
said that she saw Dr. Norton in August 2016 for her thumbs,
and he performed bilateral injections in both thumbs and a
release on her right wrist, which had improved, and Dr.
Norton "is going to do the left." She admitted that
she had a history of problems with her hand and wrist in the
form of carpal-tunnel releases that had been performed
"years ago." She also said that Dr. Shock had given
her injections in her right elbow in the past.
found as follows:
Unfortunately, the disputes in this claim revolve around the
fact that many of [Davis's] subsequent complaints, need
for treatment, and disability did not manifest themselves
immediately; however, clearly, [her] undisputed testimony,
which is confirmed by medical records reflect that [her]
multiple symptoms manifested themselves shortly thereafter,
were logically attributable to the admitted slip and fall on
April 22, 2016, and are attributable to the incident.
Further, the record reflects that [Remington], specifically,
the company nurse, frustrated [Davis's] efforts at
obtaining any and all follow-up medical care while relying
upon a one-time examination by the company physician at
Concentra Health Centers who released [Davis] to return to
work without restrictions despite the fact that [she] voiced
additional complaints which were subsequently confirmed ...